24 April 2019 | Piotr Nowakowski and Ryszard Wnuk, The Polish National Energy Conservation Agency

The Polish approach to RES and the potential of Wind Energy

The EU Climate & Energy Package, established in December 2008, imposed an obligation on Poland to foster the development of Renewable Energy Sources (RES). Therefore, as a mandatory target, the share of RES in the energy mix was fixed at 15% of the gross final energy consumption[1] by 2020, and as part of the EU-wide goal for 2030, Poland declared to achieve 21% by 2030.


At the end of 2017, 11% percent were reached, however following a downward trend from 11.93% in 2015 (Statistics Poland, „Energy from renewable sources in 2015, 2016, 2017”). In order to get back on track and achieve, or at least approach the 2020 RES target, Poland needs to take swift and effective measures to incentivise further RES deployment across all subsectors.


In light of the endangered 2020 goal, wind energy has recently significantly grown in importance, as it seems to be the only technology with the potential to change the situation in the short time period left.


A competitive RES technology 

Since 2016 wind energy development has been stimulated by the government through an auction-based incentive scheme dedicated to medium and large-scale RES installations[2]. Last year, PV as well as Wind installations with a capacity above 1MW were allowed to compete for support within the same technological basket, but only offers of wind installations were received. This is caused by the lower levelised costs of electricity (LCOE) of wind technology compared to PV. Nevertheless, the total volume of energy allocated to the basket (45 TWh) was used to 93%[3] in the last year. However, the value of the energy sold within the auction was only 52% of the total allocation due to unexpectedly low energy prices offered.


At the moment, onshore wind generates electricity at a price competitive with market prices[4], and therefore is the cheapest renewable source of electricity generation. This year, the Ministry of Energy intends to contract 67.5 TWh of electricity under an auction bundle for, among others, onshore wind. The total value of this energy volume amount to PLN 23.45 billion or 5.64 billion Euro,  resulting in a significant wind industry contribution towards the achievement of  2020 RES target.


The share of wind energy in electricity production from RES was more than 60% in 2017 (about 15 TWh). Because of continuous technical improvement and decreasing costs, the productivity of wind turbines is growing, resulting in a more efficient utilisation of wind resources. On-shore wind energy will still be the core technology for achieving the goals of the next package “Clean energy for all Europeans”, at least in the power sector.


The role of social acceptance

However, this technology is accompanied by a diverse reception and level of acceptance, in particular by local communities. Implementation at local level proves to be sometimes more difficult than stimulation at national level. The issue of lack of social acceptance has also been underlined in the draft document “Energy Policy of Poland until 2040” (PEP2040) concerning on-shore wind energy.


The document states, that RES in the power sector is foreseen to develop at a stable level, with dynamics increasing after 2025. It is estimated that the share of RES in the power sector could be equal to 27% by 2030. The document indicates however, that such a dynamic growth of installed capacity as seen in the previous years is not necessarily to be expected due to the weather-dependent character of on-shore wind farms and the above-mentioned lack of social acceptance at the local level.


In order to reduce potential conflicts, it is worthwhile for investors in on-shore wind energy to create participatory models for residents and local communities, enabling them to participate actively in these investments.


The first offshore wind farm is planned to be established after 2025. More interest in offshore wind energy is also determined by a lack of concerns relating to social acceptance.


The WinWind project plays a significant role facilitating socially inclusive wind farm development processes in Poland and other European countries. The approach of the project fits perfectly with the needs and problems highlighted in the draft “Energy Policy of Poland until 2040”. WinWind has already selected and elaborated 10 best practice cases, including measures addressing fair distribution of benefits and participatory models.



The issue of how renewable energy technologies are perceived is an integral part of their development determined by the local environment, including support or opposition to a given investment. From the energy transition point of view, at which we stand, social acceptance of renewable energy has a tremendous impact on its effective and continuous development. Facing the energy revolution and seeing global megatrends, social acceptance of onshore wind energy and other renewable energy technologies should not be a barrier to development. It should rather be a driver for continuous and stable development, which emphasises the importance of community energy and public participation in wind energy projects.


  • Statistics Poland, „Energy from renewable sources in 2015, 2016, 2017”
  • Polish Ministry of Energy - Draft “Energy Policy of Poland until 2040”
  • Information from the President of the Energy Regulatory Office (No. 91/2018) regarding the announcement of the results of the Auction No. AZ / 6/2018
  • Announcement of the auction for the sale of electricity from renewable energy sources. Auction No. AZ / 6/2018
  • Regulation on the maximum amount and value of electricity from renewable energy sources in 2019

[1] The gross final energy consumption from renewable sources consists of its consumption in heating and cooling (233.645 TJ in 2017), power industry (77.717 TJ in 2017) and transportation (28.775 TJ in 2017).

[2] Introduced by an amendment to the RES Act on 1st July 2016.

[3] In the last year, the total volume of energy sold within the auction basket for onshore wind farms and PV installations with installed capacity above 1 MW was equal to 41.997 TWh, with total amount of 8 238 365 894.35 zł (for a period of 15 years).

[4] The average weighted price of all winning offers was PLN 196.17/MWh. The lowest reported price was PLN 157.80/MWh, and the highest qualified for support reached PLN 216.99/MWh and already has achieved so-called grid parity.